1. A platform release is a limited release strategy, whereby the film opens in only a few theaters, then gradually expands to more theaters as word of mouth spreads and the marketing campaign gains momentum. Depending on the film’s success, there is even the possibility to expand into a wide release. The advantage of this strategy is that marketing costs are conserved until a film’s performance has been established. This way, if a film turns out to be very popular or critically acclaimed, the distributor may opt to spend more money than originally planned and push for a wider release; if the movie flops, the distributor can withdraw from the campaign without having spent much money promoting and advertising the film.
In the early stages of a platform release, the key metric is the per-theater average gross, not the total box office gross. Art house and independent movie theaters like to see a high per-theater average, as proof that they will be successful if they release the film. A distributor using this release strategy must take care that they don’t expand the release too quickly: If a film is successful early on, many theaters will be interested in playing it – but if the distributor releases the film into too many theaters at this stage, the limited audience will be spread over multiple theaters, lowering the per-theater average and making the film appear weaker.